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Fire-resistant materials help OC homes

November 17, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The devastating wildfires proved just how quickly flames can destroy property. The fierce firestorms also showed the effectiveness of new fire-resistant technology in home building. In the Olinda Ranch neighborhood in Brea, homeowner Mike Green describes how his home and the rest here were built about as fire-resistant as they could be. With flames and flying embers coming toward his home Saturday night, his and the rest all survived. The siding of the house looks like wood, but it is not.

"It's not. It's a concrete-based siding which has a real high combustion point so embers hit it, they don't, it won't ignite it," said homeowner Mike Green. "Fire sprinklers everywhere, closets, pantries, garage, even the attic. As, also, as fireproof roof, you know, we've got tiles and under the eaves there all finished with stucco so it's got a high combustion point. The hillside, as you can see, is charred but up on top of the hill, the city of Brea put in Olinda Trail, which goes and zig-zags across, which does provide some fire breaks but also on the perimeter of the track they planted a greenbelt that obviously is slower to burn."

Ramon Valdez, Mike Green's next-door neighbor, describes what it was like just watching the embers flying over to their homes.

"What happens is, and and especially Mike was kind of our defense, is, when the embers were hitting his house, he was just standing out there as a precaution but they just pretty much died out," said homeowner Ramon Valdez. "It really ... they, they didn't catch on anything. Obviously the shingles on the house are very fire-retardant, so we don't have to worry as much about, you know, anybody who may have wood shingles or anything like that, it was great. I mean we were worried about it, but in reality when everything hit nothing happened so everybody felt really safe."

Both Green and Valdez say that most of the credit for houses still standing here should be given to the firefighters who battled the flames and protected the houses.


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